New Riverside Discovery Center Board President Jordan Colwell says he’s on a mission to revitalize support for the zoo in Scottsbluff, and is taking several steps to show city officials what the facility means to the public.
In addition to an online support petition drive and a new GoFundMe page, Colwell says they’re working hard to get more support from foundations willing to contribute to the zoo’s $700,000 operating budget.
However, Colwell says organizations such as the Peter Kiewit Foundation like to see that a city and its residents support facilities such as the zoo with their own funding as part of the bargain. “We’re already trying to apply and get them out here for a site visit, but if they see the city doesn’t want to support the zoo, then they are going to move on to communities that have the city and support of the citizens”, says Colwell. “So there are funds out there, (but) contrary to some council members beliefs that they just need to give the money so the City can see it, that’s not how these grants and foundations and organizations work.”
The city of Scottsbluff provides $350,000 for the zoo every year under a contract that ends in September 2020.
Colwell says the petition drive started Tuesday night on the Change.org website is going well, and has already gathered more than 800 signatures as of midday today. He says it was pure coincidence the petition drive started at about the same time the Scottsbluff council was discussing contracts with outside organizations, including the RDC.